SNAP says alleged offenders pose public safety issue

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by Laura Rodriguez

Victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse say 2 offenders are currently working with children and families, but the Archdiocese says both men were removed from the priesthood even after civil authorities declined prosecution.

SNAP says one of these men is now a licensed clinical social worker. The other is a funeral director.

"This is a public safety concern because the community needs to know where these individuals are, where they are living, what they're doing," said John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director.

The press conference is a response to comments made by bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley during the last court hearing on February 29th.

"My review has not indicated one iota of a public safety crisis to be concerned about in those proofs of claims. Absolutely none, and I've looked at every one," said Judge Kelley.

"If the judge would've known this information we don't believe she would have concluded or made the observations she made," said Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director.

SNAP also claims an accused cleric remains pastor at St. Mary's Visitation Parish, but a look at the staff page shows that pastor is on leave.

"Father Wenig is currently on administrative leave and has no role on the administrative or pastoral life of our parish," said Mike George, staff member at St. Mary's.

The group wants to know the status of the alleged abusers and emphasized the need for the Attorney General's involvement.

"What our experience shows us is that when a prosecutor has political will, they find a way to put children first and not let themselves be hog-tied by statutes," said Anne Barrett Doyle, Co-Director of BishopAccountability.org.

The Attorney General Communication's Officer says Department of Justice officials met with SNAP to discuss their concerns, but the office did not confirm if they will proceed with an investigation.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee confirms they removed both men from active ministry and from priesthood.

"The Church is no longer responsible for them," said Julie Wolf, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

And as for the Pastor on leave- "He has canonical rights and his case is in process and not substantiated," said Wolf.

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